Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Diarrhea During a Run

>> Thursday, July 23, 2015

Oh come on. Don't act like it hasn't happened to you.

I recently came across this article, and I figured parts of it were worth sharing.

It’s a nightmare scenario for runners: A spirited jaunt on your favorite backcountry trail turns into a sprint for the nearest tree when nature suddenly calls - and not the friendly kind of call.

Although you may fight valiantly, you’re ultimately forced to drop trou and drop a deuce.

Hopefully this has never happened to you. (And if it has, how did you wipe?) But in the unfortunate event that you suddenly feel the urge, remember this advice to keep your run from going down the crapper.

So let's get down to it: why do you get diarrhea on a run?

The physical motion of running manhandles your intestines (and whatever’s in them) for a prolonged period of time, says Men’s Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D.

If you’ve ever made the mistake of eating or drinking too much water before you run, you know the sickening feeling of your stomach contents sloshing around.

Also, your body draws blood away from your intestines and into your muscles when you run, causing a disruption in normal digestion, Roussell says. That’s when, as they say, shit happens.

So what should you do? You can't keep running.

If you’re on a training run and you feel the urge, just walk; the jostling motion of running can make it tough to hold back the goods.

(Since there’s no turning back, Massaging This Body Part Is Guaranteed to Help You Poop.)

To help prevent diarrhea, avoid fiber-rich foods such as beans, nuts, and raisins for several hours before you run.

While fiber can give you plenty of energy and help you lose weight, some fiber-rich foods may also make your stomach and lower GI tract feel heavier if you consume them too close to an exercise session. It takes about 2 hours for fiber to leave your stomach and enter your intestine, so you’ll want to give yourself enough time between eating it and setting out on your run.

Worst case scenario: Find a nice, peaceful spot in the woods to do your business, and look for a large, dry leaf.

So that's that. There's little you can do when the need arises. You can't "push through." The article ends with a story from Mike Morgan, an elite marathoner and coach for the Hansons/Brooks running club. He recalls a marathon in 2010 when, at about the 20 mile mark, he "felt the formidable force deep in his gut:"

Determined not to forfeit his position of 10th place overall and 3rd American, Morgan heroically forged onward.

“I made the decision to release a couple of PSI,” he says. “That turned into an explosion, and I ended up with a pant full.”

By the end of the race Morgan only managed to give up one spot, finishing 11th overall and 3rd American, but the price of victory was a hefty load in his shorts.

Today, Morgan owns his decision—which allowed him to PR and place on the USA Marathon World Championship Team—but he has learned a secret to help keep him from experiencing the problem again: Take a Metamucil the night before your big race. That will give the fiber supplement plenty of time to help clean out your system and foil any nasty digestive issues from ruining your race.

I Googled "Mike Morgan runner poop" to see if there were in photos of the incident. This was a bit down in the search, but I'm pretty sure this is him:

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Bikerpete 7:00 AM, July 23, 2015  

Whow ... sh*t happens :-)

Here is the pic of him during THAT race:,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/afscuecqn42cpv1comlf.jpg

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